I recently heard a message on running the race of faith faithfully. We are encouraged to run with our eyes set the finish line, looking for the prize. It was a message of encouragement, urging us to keep ourselves from the ways of the world, although we’re still being in it and reminding us of the tremendous cost the Lord Yeshua paid for us on the cross.
I have been thinking of this concept of a race since hearing the message. The book I am currently reading also reminds the readers of a very fundamental, yet transforming truth – the Lord Yeshua died for all our sins, past, present and future. He did it not because we are worthy or deserve another chance, but because He loves us and wants us to be with Him forever. As I read this book and ponder on the message I heard, I think of the movie “Forrest Gump”. Forrest was a young boy, who had braces on his legs because he couldn’t walk straight, let alone run. During one incident, when some children came to hit him and pick on him, his friend told him “run, Forrest, run!”. As his friend kept yelling that, he kept going faster and faster, looking ahead, until his legs started running and the braces broke off, allowing him to outrun the group of kids who wanted to hurt him.
Just like Forrest’s leg braces, our past can hinder our walk, can hinder our race if we let it. It keeps popping up and pointing a finger at us. Perhaps your past haunts you and doesn’t give you rest. You did things you shouldn’t have, whether as a believer – knowing you shouldn’t be doing those things, or before you got saved and now you look back with shame and disgust at those things in which you once took pleasure and delight. Perhaps you know that God forgave you, but somehow your sense of guilt won’t allow you to forgive yourself. That is a wrong understanding of God’s grace. God’s morality is higher than ours. If He forgave you for murdering His only Son, would He not forgive you for what you have done in your life?
You might say to me “well, you never lived in the world. You grew up in a believing family, never tasted those things. If you only knew what I’ve done, you would be looking back with shame and disgust as well”. To that I would answer that truly, I never lived “in” the world in the sense of experiencing everything the world has to “offer” concerning the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life (1 John 2:16). By God’s grace, I grew up in a believing home that taught me the ways of the Lord from a young age. But, despite that, I had my struggles. I have feelings, emotions and thoughts like you, which are not always pure or pleasing to the Lord. But, I make every effort to submit them to God in repentance, knowing He is just to forgive and cleanses me from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
If you feel you still have “braces” on your legs that prevent you from running His race as you should, God can free you from them. He can free you from the guilt and shame, from memories and pain of the past. God promised in His word that there is no condemnation for those who are in the Lord Yeshua (Romans 8:1). You are a new creation and God wants you to run the race looking forward, to Him, not back to where He took you from.
Where do you see yourself in a few years? What do you see yourself doing? In the words of the message I heard, “where are you running to?” And as Forrest Gump said, “from that day on, if I was going somewhere, I was running!” It would be nice to join him, but even more so to join with the multitudes who are pressing on, despite the impediments and weights that slow us down.
© Hannah Kramer